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"Woe to them that sit at ease in Zion, that eat the choice of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stalls; drink wine in bowls, and dance to the tabret and harp, and are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph!" The true church of Christ in this country, has been and is yet, greatly afflicted and persecuted; professors and non-professors are truly yoke-fellows in this work of trampling down the Lord's vineyard; and noue lay it to heart, or are afflicted, and therefore the above woe may be justly applied to them. They delight in the good things of this life, eating and drinking and the refined as they please to call them-amusements of this age of degenerateness and abominations and crimes; notwithstanding all the outward show, which cannot stand the test of Him whose eyes are as a flame of fire. There are none that really wish to come out of the world, leave off all its sinful amusements, and take up the yoke of Jesus and attach themselves to a few true, but persecuted followers of the Lamb. But their religion seems to consist altogether in hypocrisy and deception; a form of godliness while they know nothing of the power; and woe will be their end and eternal destiny, if they die thus in their sins. But ye my brethren who have your delight in God and the beauties of holiness, whom he has seated in high and heavenly places in Christ Jesus, remain steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in sound doctrine, and every good work of the Lord, rejoice evermore, and pray without ceasing, that we be found at his coming, perfect, wanting nothing, and be welcomed into the kingdom of our Lord, to live with him and all the Holy Angels and Saints, in all joy, glory, felicity and happiness, forever and ever. Now unto the King Eternal, Immortal, Immutable, Invisible, the only wise God, be all honor and glory, forever and ever. Amen.
THE LOVE OF GOD.
If ye love me keep my commandments:
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;
Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you.
[St. John, 14th chap. 15th, 16th, & 17th verses. These words of our blessed Lord are some of the most pathetic and consoling to his disciples, in the New Testament. Indeed the whole chapter, and the two following, abound in affectionate promises, full of consolation to his sorrowing companions, his disciples whom he had just made acquainted with his passion, which was to separate them for awhile, in the interval however, the comforter should take his place, and also to abide forever. He was thus instructing them in their duty to him, and one another, and the whole church of God. The strains of admonitions, of persuasions, desires, and promises, are lovely, sweet, and most precious; then comes his fervent, holy, heart strengthening and soulrefreshing prayer, (in the 17th chap.) for his devoted disciples and faithful followers, and all them that would believe on him through their word; in short for his true church on earth. This inimitable prayer, so full of heavenly love and divinity, and the importunity that the blessing supplicated for might not be withheld, but conferred upon his disciples and all true believers; it likewise shows how indefatigable he was in his exertions, and how full his soul was, yea to overflowing, to accomplish the work he was engaged in to perfection. "A man (he was God-man) will lay down his life for his friends; ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.”—
"If ye love me keep my commandments."
O how sweet, how beautiful, amiable, and delightful are the affections when they are all congenial and harmonize in love; love to the Supreme being, and love to our fellow-men; for the very first commandment enjoins love to God and love to our neighbors; and surely therefore, no one can please him who is of a contrary disposition; who is disobedient, self-willed, full of pride, hatred, malice and revenge: these qualities are not of God, for God is Love, and also a consuming fire, to consume all such characters, if they end their probationary state thus, with fire unquenchable in the gulph of despair, provided for the devil and his angels. No my readers, these tempers are earthly, sensual and devilish, and the more any one delights and lives in these wicked passions, the more he is under the influence and control of Satan; and yet if he should say an hundred times "I love God," these, his deeds, would cause his words to rebound and seal the lie upon him; therefore also Christ saith, "If ye love me keep my commandments."
How strenuous our blessed Lord was with Peter on account of his weakness before Pilate, by denying his master; he asked him thrice whether he loved him, and Peter twice replied, yea Lord; and the third time, "Thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee." He then commanded him to feed his sheep, to feed his lambs, which is likewise the duty of every lover of God and his neighbor, less or more, if not to the extent of Peter, yet in some measure as opportunity offers, to engage in the holy cause, to lift up the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees, through the power of God working in us, and convince our Lord by obedience, holy affections and tempers, by fruits of righteousness and godliness, that we now in reality love him, whatever our misconduct and infidelity might have been previously; that we have now become converted and have returned to him to serve him in holiness and righteousness all our days.
"Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." "He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love."
[1st General Epistle of John, 4th chap., 7th & 8th ver. How amiable, O how full this disciple was of that holy attribute of God, and all deserving of the appropriate title, "Beloved." His sweetness and heavenly dispositions procured for him a place in the bosom of our blessed Lord, so as at meals to lean on his master's breast, while his brethren were not thus highly favored, although perhaps equally beloved by the Lord; as we have some proof, for instance, Christ's charge to Peter; and in other places we are infor med that God is no respecter of persons; all are accepted of him that love him and work righteousness, but they that hate him shall be lightly esteemed, because they are on the side of the enemy, on the side of the devil, and devils cannot love; consequently they are diametrically opposed to this high and holy attribute of the Deity, and at variance with his church and people. In this awful state are all unregenerate persons, and whatever their ideas of love and affection may be, they are all a lie, and so it is with all hypocrites and deceivers, as it is also written in this epistle, 2d chap. 4th verse: "He that saith I know him and keepeth not his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him." Be ye therefore admonished from the same source, chapter eleventh, 8th & 9th verses: "Little children, let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, for he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil; whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother." From hence we may know by examining ourselves whether we are born of and are in God
and he in us: for this purpose also our blessed Saviour says, "If ye love me keep my commandments."
This thing of professing love to God, so peculiar to this generation, as it also was to the Pharisees, in the time of our blessed Saviour; but unbelief and hatred to his son and his true followers, his annointed and peculiar people, is a total contradiction and gross perversion of the truth; at variance with and tramples under the holy designs of Jehovah to effect the salvation of their souls, as they remain in their old state of sin and iniquity; notwithstanding the accomplishment of salvation on Mount Calvary, through the love and obedience of his son, whose blood, I say, is trampled upon by them and they crucify the son of God anew. "Saul! Saul!! why persecutest thou me? I am Jesus whoin thou persecutest." O that they would but behold him whom they pierced and nailed to the cross on Calvary, hear amid his dying groans the prayers ascend that his murderers might be forgiven. O that they would behold his bleeding hands and feet, his precious blood trickling to the ground and cease trampling it under; but use it through faith, for the purifying themselves withal, for his blood cleanseth from all sins. O that they would reflect that it was not for any worldly consideration that men could bestow upon him, for God owneth the heavens and the earth and the fulness thereof-nor for his own guilt that he came to suffer upon earth, to die on the cross, to become a propitiation for the sins of the world, "that God might be just and the justifier of them that believe in Jesus." O that they would but be constrained and persuaded to love him who first loved us, and be conformed to the image of his son; put on the new man of love, which after him is created in righteousnes and true holiness, so that they might love him who is worthy of the love of their hearts, minds, souls, spirits and strength; and be free from fear and the bondage of the Wicked One, in which they have been kept all their lives; for fear hath torment, but perfect love casteth out fear. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in